Helping food importers educate existing and potential hotel, restaurant and institutional (HRI) clients about the quality of U.S. red meat and its availability in China, USMEF conducted training sessions in Guangzhou. Two separate workshops were followed by a U.S. red meat culinary application seminar, which focused on several U.S. beef and pork dishes suitable for China’s HRI industry.
Funding for the workshops and seminar was provided by the Beef Checkoff Program and the Pork Checkoff. More than 80 representatives from 40 restaurants and hotels participated.
“Our goal was to provide these HRI decision makers with positive U.S. red meat experiences and encourage them to include U.S. products on their menus,” said Ming Liang, USMEF marketing director in China. “During the workshops and seminar, we explained how U.S. beef and pork could benefit their businesses and win them more customers.”
Drawing upon expertise gained in a neighboring market, Alex Sun, USMEF marketing manager in Taiwan, presented an overview of U.S. beef and pork production that included an explanation of the U.S. beef grading system. Taiwan has seen steady growth in U.S. beef imports and is an especially strong market for chilled U.S. beef.
That session was followed by a cutting demonstration focused on U.S. beef eye round, chuck clod heart, tri tip and sirloin butt. Along with these alternative cuts, ideas for U.S. beef ribeye, tenderloin, striploin and boneless short ribs, as well as U.S. pork CT butt, belly and loin, were shared. A tasting session included pan-fried steak and Japanese-style barbecue.
“One way we promoted alternative cuts at the workshops was to introduce a new concept we call ‘U.S. Meat Box’ to restaurants, especially hotpot and Japanese and Korean style barbecue restaurants,” said Liang. “Many of the restaurant staffers at the workshop showed particular interest in the alternative cuts, noting that they could really help them increase sales to new clients.”
The U.S. red meat application seminar also focused on promoting alternative cuts to hotels and high-end restaurants.
“Since China’s reopening to U.S. beef last year, some restaurants have taken the lead in placing U.S. beef on their menus, but others were hesitant because they could not find a good supply channel or do not know enough to get started,” said Liang. “Today, there are more suppliers importing U.S. beef in southern China, and with the support of the U.S. Agriculture Trade Office in Guangzhou, we brought many of them together for this seminar to provide an update on U.S. beef and educated them on the attributes of U.S. red meat.”
Four U.S. beef and pork importers and distributors set up product display booths at the seminar, allowing them to communicate directly with workshop participants.
USMEF Senior Vice President for the Asia Pacific Joel Haggard opened the seminar by explaining USMEF’s role in promoting U.S. red meat and connecting buyers with U.S. suppliers. A delegation from Iowa that included pork and beef producers followed with a presentation on how they raise their hogs and cattle.
A tasting session highlighting hotpot items featured samples of U.S. pork belly and CT butt, along with U.S. beef knuckle, chuck roll, chuck clod, tenderloin, boneless short ribs and ribeye.
“All of these cuts are popular items in the Chinese market, so our guests were able to experience the original flavor and texture,” said Liang. “We invited a hotel executive chef to help with a cooking demonstration and share new cooking ideas for U.S. beef and pork.”
The efforts in Guangzhou are part of USMEF’s strategy to focus on the major economic growth areas of China. Along with South China events in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, seminars are planned for Shanghai and Hangzhou in Central China and Beijing in North China.